Volume 14, Issue 4 (1-2021)                   2021, 14(4): 581-608 | Back to browse issues page

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Hosseini M, Taromi M, Saeidi M, Soleimani V, Soltani Negar M. The Study of Cementation Level Effect on the Strength Characteristics and Shear Wave Velocity of Coarse-Grained Alluvium in Eastern Areas of Tehran, Iran. Journal of Engineering Geology 2021; 14 (4) :581-608
URL: http://jeg.khu.ac.ir/article-1-2909-en.html
Abstract:   (2935 Views)
Series A of coarse-grained alluvial deposits of Tehran are extended in eastern and north-eastern areas of Tehran. Analyzing and studying of these alluvial deposits from a geological point of view as well as their creation time and general characteristics such as the deposits’ mineral types, their source, and formation conditions, gives a better point of view to geotechnical engineers about exploring their characteristics as well as geotechnical aspects in underground structure design, excavations, and foundation design processes. On the other hand, in order to analyze stability, estimating the factor of safety and the seismic design of these structures, considering their location, which is in Tehran with a high seismic hazard area, the necessity of knowing the exact mechanical and dynamic properties of Tehran's alluvium is felt more than ever.
Material and methods
Due to the grain size of Tehran’s coarse-grained alluviums (series A) as well as high level of cementation of them, it is impossible (or maybe so difficult) to make undisturbed samples in order to do experiments. Such that it is excavated 23 boreholes with 30 to 140 meters depth as well as 17 test wells with 20 meters depth in an area which was extended in 10 kilometers in long which were located in Tehran’s No. 13 and No. 14 districts (as it can be seen in Figure 1). During the excavation of the entrance ramp and tunnel of eastern highway of Tehran, in-situ tests have been done in different sequences. Since it was important to investigate real behavior of these alluviums, different in-situ tests such as plate load test, in-situ shear test, pressuremeter test, and downhole test have been done as well as many laboratory and field tests. Furthermore, (1) X-Ray Diffraction (XRD) and (2) X-ray Fluorescence (XRF) as well as (3) Scanning Electron Microscopy (SEM) methods, have been used to explore the type of minerals and those used in cementation.

Figure 1. a) Geological plan and the location of boreholes and test wells in the alignment of East Tehran Freeway
Results and discussion
Based on the results of XRD tests, it is quite clear that the largest weight percentages of tested samples are lime and silica.
Calcium and magnesium levels-as the high-power cations in flocculation process-in soil sample No. 1 (soil with high cementation level) are much more than soil sample No. 2 (soil with moderate cementation level).
This is the cause of high cementation level of soil sample No. 1 comparing with soils sample No. 2. A rapid increase in stress level can be seen in in-situ shear test results, in low shear displacements, up to reaching a maximum of τp (peak point) and afterwards reduction in shear stress with softening behavior.  
Cohesion and shear strength levels also increase by increasing the depth. According to the plate load tests results, an increase in soil modules changes can be seen in different depths by depth increasing.
Large tendencies to increase in volume and dilation can be seen in under shear load cemented soils, after applying a primary compression on them. A brittle behavior with the occurrence of a certain peak can be seen in cemented samples. The significant increase in strength is directly related to the severe dilation rate, which can be seen in cemented samples results.  The shear strength would be decreased, if this cement is broken during the particles’ displacements.
The results of downhole tests are shown in Figure 2. According to this figure, it has been explored that Vs,30 is about 600 m/s in moderate cemented soils while it is about 850 m/s in highly cemented soils.  Because of the homogeneity and uniformity of sedimentary deposits, shear wave velocity is increasing due to the higher density of the layers and high level of cementation in both of the soil types. However, this increase is not significant at depths above 25 meters.
Based on the results, cementation level of the eastern coarse-grain-alluvium of Tehran is moderate to high and minerals used in cementation of this type of soil are generally carbonated and especially calcite.
Investigating the level of cementation of soil as well as the results of chemical analysis and in-situ tests, it can be found that the strength and deformation parameters of the soil are directly related to the degree of its cementation.
Based on the obtained results, the deformation modulus increases by about 25%, the cohesion by about 55% and the shear wave velocity by about 30% with increasing the degree of cementation (Table 1).
Increases of these parameters are directly related to depth. However, the cementation level does not significantly affect the internal friction angle of the soil.
Table 1. Average results of in-situ shear tests
Deformation Modulus (MPa) Peak Friction Angle (deg.) Cohesion
USCS Depth
50-60 39 30-35 GW-GM 5 Moderately Cemented Soil
(M.C. Soil)
75-85 41 50-60 SP-SC 10
85-90 41 50-60 GW-GC 15
95-105 41 50-60 GW-GC 20
60-70 39 35-40 GW-GM 5 Highly Cemented Soil (H.C. Soil)
75-85 39 50-60 GW-GC 10
110-120 42 65-75 GW-GC 15
125-140 41 110-120 GC 20
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Subject: Geotecnic
Received: 2019/11/26 | Accepted: 2020/04/13 | Published: 2021/01/29

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